About the Program
History and Culture is an interdisciplinary graduate program in modern intellectual and cultural history. While its geographic focus remains European and American, the course of study emphasizes the production and dissemination of knowledge in global contexts. Students are trained to consider a range of intellectual and cultural problems of pressing contemporary relevance from multiple disciplinary perspectives. The program also emphasizes preparation for non-academic as well as academic careers. Through internships, seminars and workshops, doctoral candidates receive hands-on training in various fields including publishing, digital media, museum curation, and philanthropic organization.
The doctoral program is structured to allow students to complete the degree in five years during which time selected Fellowship recipients receive full financial support. In addition to their coursework and internships, Fellowship students also work as teaching assistants with a Drew professor and teach a few courses on their own. Unlike many larger doctoral program in history, History & Culture does not require students to work as teaching assistants in large lecture classes.
Admission to the program is highly selective. Its small size makes for a closely cooperative intellectual community, in which the faculty can devote individual attention to each student.
History and Culture is an M.A./Ph.D. degree program devoted to the study of ideas, knowledge, and culture in the modern world. Rooted in historical inquiry and issuing degrees in history, History and Culture draws on a variety of disciplinary approaches. Its students work with a distinguished faculty from departments in the humanities and social sciences and are encouraged to pursue projects that make innovative use of multiple modes of research and analysis.
History and Culture takes as its premise the enormous currency of knowledge and importance of ideas, broadly defined, in the modern and contemporary world, as well as the dramatic expansion of the cultural realm. Centered in intellectual and cultural history, its curriculum is based on a series of topics, problems, and discourses integral to the modern experience:
- the production, dissemination, and consumption of knowledge
- constructions of identity and social norms
- the construction and role of the intellectual
- literary and cultural modernism
- memory, narrative, and representations of the past
- science, technology, and information systems
- democratic theory and practice
- critical theory and social thought
To pursue these areas, the program engages history, literary studies, religious studies, anthropology, economics, sociology, political science, and the arts. Running through the program’s diverse inquiry are the central questions of how ideas and cultural forms develop, gain agency, and are implicated in systems of power and modes of critique.
History and Culture also aims to produce effective intellectual leaders in the global age. Toward this end, it instructs students in the diverse intellectual and cultural traditions of American and European society, as well as how those traditions have both shaped and been shaped by those in other societies. Whether as scholars and teachers in a university setting or public intellectuals in various roles, graduates of the History and Culture program will be equipped with the knowledge to productively engage with students, colleagues, decision-makers, and the larger public.
The History and Culture program, finally, recognizes that all knowledge is institutionally located, serving a variety of pragmatic ends; it seeks, by extension, that it students have a sense of knowledge at work in the world, beyond the realms of teaching and scholarship. As a result, it sponsors internship programs placing students in foundations, think tanks, cultural institutions, other non-profits, and university offices. From these, they receive additional perspective on cultural processes, the institutional organization of knowledge, the information economy, and ideas at work.
What makes us different?
History and Culture has a number of strengths that make it especially rewarding for its students and distinguish it from other graduate programs.
History and Culture draws on multiple disciplines, exploring the points of intersection between them and ways to integrate various modes of discourse and analysis. Its faculty is drawn from English Literature, Classics, Economics, German Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology, as well as Drew University’s History department. All H & C students are required to take courses in multiple fields and encouraged to pursue studies that cross disciplinary lines.
History and Culture is kept deliberately small, so as to afford students a high level of individualized attention and build intellectual community among the students and faculty. Intellectual intimacy is a hallmark of the H & C program and of Drew University more generally.
History and Culture students participate in a carefully designed pedagogic apprenticeship, in which they both learn and practice the essential skills of college teaching. As the culmination of this training, they teach their own courses at Drew University and/or other local colleges. They do not work as teaching assistants for large lecture courses.
Time to Degree
History and Culture both permits and encourages students to complete their Ph.D. degrees in five years. Toward this end, we provide five years of full financial support (tuition remission plus fellowship money) for doctoral students. Students who enter the Ph.D. program already with a Masters may receive advanced standing.
History and Culture sponsors various lectures and talks, as well as an interdisciplinary colloquium. In addition, the program serves as an editorial base for an interdisciplinary journal, Book History, with which students may be involved. The Caspersen School is also home to University Centers (The Center for Civic Engagement, the Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict, and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies), in whose programming H & C students can participate. And Drew is only 30 miles from New York City, whose universities hold lectures, conferences, and colloquia open to Drew students. Finally, Drew will annually send one H & C student to the summer program of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University.
The History and Culture program, and Drew University more broadly, deeply believe both in the value of advanced forms of teaching, learning, and research to society as a whole, as well as in the obligation of universities to serve the local, national, and global communities. This conviction is reflected in the content and method of our instruction, in our programming, and in our aspiration that our students craft identities as “public intellectuals,” whatever their career paths.
Life Beyond the Academy
While History and Culture trains its students primarily for careers in academia, it also provides hands-on training in skills that are relevant to the broader world. Through our Public Humanities Internships, students can earn course credit while gaining work experience in foundations, think tanks, cultural institutions, and other non-profits.
The History and Culture program currently offers the following areas of specialization:
- Modern European and American Intellectual History
- Book History and Print Culture
- British Intellectual History
- Modern French Intellectual and Cultural History
- Irish History and Irish-American Studies
- American Cultural History
- Literary and Artistic Modernism
- History of Memory
- Holocaust and Genocide Studies
This is not an exhaustive list. In consultation with their advisors and based on faculty availability, students may design individualized courses of study. Students may also request a tutorial with a faculty member whose areas of specialization coincide with the student’s interests.
The MA Program
The MA degree requires 27 credits (9 courses), including the Foundation Seminar. The ninth course should be the Research Tutorial, in which the student will write a publishable research paper that will qualify as an MA thesis.
The PhD Program
The requirements for the PhD include 36 credits (12 courses), a student portfolio, and a dissertation. Students admitted directly into the PhD program will receive an MA when they satisfactorily complete the Research Tutorial and eight other courses. MA students may apply to the PhD program after they have satisfactorily completed at least two courses.
- All PhD and MA students are required to take the Foundation Seminar (HC 800), normally in their first semester. This seminar will introduce students to the history, methods, and philosophy of historical writing.
- All PhD and MA students must take a Research Tutorial (HC 990), normally in their final semester of course work, where each student will produce an original and publishable scholarly paper. The tutorial introduces students to primary source research and the apparatus of scholarship. Students in this tutorial work mainly independently but under faculty supervision.
- All PhD students must take at least two extra-disciplinary courses taught by faculty trained in fields other than history, including (but not limited to) literature, philosophy, politics, sociology, anthropology, music, art, and religion. At least one extra-disciplinary course should be taken in the student’s first year. A student may satisfy this requirement with courses offered in other Drew graduate programs or upper-level undergraduate courses, with the approval of his/her faculty advisor and the course instructor.
- In their third year all PhD students will participate in a noncredit Writing Workshop taught by a professional nonfiction writer, which teaches academics how to communicate topics in history and culture to a general audience.
PhD students specializing in Continental Europe must pass an examination in one foreign language. Normally the language will be French, German, or Spanish, but another language may be substituted if it is deemed useful to the student’s research. Foreign language examinations are not required for MA students or for PhD students specializing in the United States, Britain, or Ireland.
Each PhD student must, in the third academic year, demonstrate his/her preparation as a teacher and scholar by satisfactorily completing a portfolio which will consist of the following:
- Three capstone essays.
- A public lecture.
- Two book reviews.
- Two course syllabi.
- An essay on an academic topic addressed to a nonacademic audience.
- A dissertation prospectus.
In each of the capstone essays, the student will master, summarize, and criticize a body of historical literature. The essays should address the following three fields:
Field 1: Intellectual and cultural history.
Field 2: A specialized field in history other than intellectual/cultural history. Examples include political history, diplomatic history, disability history, social history, or any other subfield supported by the teaching and research expertise of the History and Culture faculty.
Field 3: An interdisciplinary field that explores the intersections between history and another discipline, such as literary studies, classics, anthropology, political science, sociology, art history, or economics.
At the beginning of the third year, in consultation with his/her faculty advisor, each doctoral student will form a dissertation committee consisting of three faculty, one of whom may be based at another university. Each dissertation must ultimately undergo an oral defense and must be unanimously approved by the dissertation committee. When the student has prepared a final draft and is ready to defend, the committee will consult with the student to invite a fourth reader from another university.
The History and Culture program prepares all its students for academic careers, but we also go beyond that to engage the larger world. All of our doctoral students take our Writing as a Public Intellectual Workshop, in which they are taught how to communicate sophisticated scholarship to a lay audience. In any semester a student can, for course credit, do a Public Humanities Internship, working with a cultural organization outside the university: for example, a museum, a publisher, a magazine, a foundation, or even a business corporation that can make use of a humanities scholar. Each internship must conclude with a paper, report, or a project the intern worked on, which should demonstrate a productive collaboration between humanities scholarship and a topic or venture of public concern. And every year we hold a Career Day in which representatives of humanities organizations discuss the work they do and the opportunities they can offer to our students.
Requirements for Application
Applicants to the M.A. in History and Culture must possess a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Applicants to the Ph.D must possess a Master’s degree from an accredited institution.
All applicants must present the following:
- The completed application form
- Official transcripts of all academic records, whether at the college or graduate level
- A personal statement
- An academic writing sample
- Graduate Record Exam scores no more than five years old
- International students whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL scores no more than two years old in place of the GRE
- Three letters of recommendation
- $45 application fee
International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit TOEFL scores that are not more than two years old. Additionally, applicants who have received their Bachelor’s degree from a foreign university, even if English was the language of instruction, must submit TOEFL scores that are not more than two years old. Students from the following countries are exempt from this requirement: Canada, UK, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, and Australia.
Applications to the M.A./Ph.D. are accepted for the fall semester only. Completed applications must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions by February 1. If necessary, the Admission Office will contact applicants to schedule an interview with a History and Culture faculty member (either in person or by phone). Notification of admission and merit scholarship will be mailed to applicants in late March.
Download the M.A./Ph.D. Application
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Cost of Attendance
For a more information on tuition and fees, please review the Business Office’s site.
Academic Standards and Financial Aid
Graduate Academic Merit Scholarships range from 20-100% of annual tuition and are offered to incoming graduate students. Candidates for the scholarships are nominated by the area faculty in consultation with the Office of Financial Assistance and the Dean of the Caspersen School. To retain their scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time (nine credit hours per semester) and shall display meritorious progress toward the degree.
MA degree students must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA each semester and a cumulative minimum 3.00 GPA. Full-time students are expected to complete the degree in four semesters. Drew’s financial aid awards are limited to a total of six semesters. All academic requirements for the degree must be completed within five years from the date of initial matriculation.
At the end of each academic year, all HC doctoral students will receive a letter assessing their overall academic performance. Doctoral students must maintain a 3.5 GPA each semester and a cumulative 3.5 GPA.
A select number of our strongest doctoral students are History and Culture Fellows, who enjoy special benefits and have special responsibilities. Fellows receive free tuition and a living stipend. They must pursue their studies full-time, completing the MA and PhD in five years, and they may not accept outside employment. (There are no restrictions on outside employment for other students, who may study part-time, as few as one course per semester.) In their second year, Fellows work as teaching assistants in Drew survey courses. In their third year, they will teach their own courses at local colleges.
For course descriptions, please view the graduate studies course catalog.
Meet Our Students
Program | Doctor of Modern History and Literature
"In such an intimate setting, I have the opportunity to work within multiple disciplines and get to know faculty on a different scale. That’s important to me as a student, scholar and future educator" - Read more
Program | Doctor of Modern History and Literature
"I find the ability to take classes from different departments or programs within the graduate school to be very rewarding. I have had the pleasure of experiencing the excitement that can occur as students debate on an intellectual topic." - Read more
Program | Doctor of Modern History and Literature
"After a 25-year absence from a college campus, I have enjoyed the friendships, camaraderie and vibrancy of the academic atmosphere at Drew. My overall experience has been wonderful" - Read more
Program | Doctor of Modern History and Literature
"Archival studies is an area of special interest to me, and the Caspersen School has been great about accommodating these curiosities, allowing me to take independent study courses with professors who share my passions." - Read more